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Navdy: HUD for your car (navdy.com)
337 points by adambratt on Aug 5, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 215 comments

Using a HUD to read/write texts/tweets? It seems like the creators missed all the studies about the dangers of distracted driving.

And pilots use HUD's so this must be safe? That would potentially hold water, if the pilots were using huds to tweet, text, and select music while landing... instead they're using huds to display important information...

I like the technology, I just don't like the suggested use cases for it...

Precisely. I've long wanted to build a HUD that could project on all the glass surfaces of my car. If I were building a HUD, it should be giving me a "heads up."

The windshield would have navigational aids, but any surface in the car could be used to display hazards!

I want my car to identify if a pedestrian is present (highlighted in yellow) or if they appear to be crossing my heading (highlighted in red.)

I want my car to tell me if there is cross-traffic that is about to run a red light. I'd like to see speed and distance indicators for other vehicles on the road.

I'd love to see the speed of traffic I'm merging into. When I glance over my shoulder to check traffic I can see: !! 64MPH | 72MPH !! in yellow, indicating I should merge faster if I'm able.

If my car detects emergency vehicles or construction vehicles the HUD could draw attention to it in my windows or mirrors.


Perhaps my HUD could identify vehicles occupied by "Tweeters" so I can be sure to avoid them?

We're making self-driving cars... there are countless ways to apply that same technology to human-driven cars that would make the roads safer for everyone. If the best they can come up with is song selection and social media: I think their priorities are a bit misaligned.

I am all for HUDs, if not most instrumentation, simply telling me what is wrong. When driving all I really want to know is, my speed and the speed limit. I could care less about the rest.

Yet I am a still a gear head at heart and having the option to see engine temperature, oil pressure (provided its a real reading), fuel, and such, would be nice I do not need it in my field of view. Perhaps the items I want to really know can be designated to pop up when I stop.

So, nav dream state.

default, speed and limit. Navigation if I am following a route Ability to designate selected other values to display all the time, at stop, when near threshold.

optional voice

I don't get why you got downvoted.

I agree with your opinion. More data, even if relevant and not tweets, doesn't always mean better. The purpose of displayed information should be to augment decision making. If something is irrelevant to making a call, like engine temperature being in proper range, it should be out of sight because otherwise it's a (mild) distraction.

Sygic drive's HUD option has exactly this. Works like a charm during the night.

Good suggestions, drbawb.

But I already have all that information. And I dont have any HUD or other displays anywhere.

I can see the speed of traffic Im merging into, pedestrians, change of speed/flow of traffic ahead of me, and if a pedestrian appears to be willing to cross infront of me.

Without even having to think about it, I can just notice when there is emergency vehicles around or construction vehicles or any other danger-sign on the road. I can be talking to my passangers, listening to music or day-dreaming but would not miss any signs - its in the automated system already.

For me, having those kind of HUD stuff would just be even more redundant information to learn to automatically filter out/make judgements on.

In fact, I think such a heads-up-displays everywhere with color information, would just confuse drivers more and lead to more accidents - now you not only have to keep eyes on the road/let brain handle the information and do its thing - but also interpret and learn the various displays and what they mean, but also to confirm what they display to the sorrounding. More info to process - more error prone decisions.

Where are you residing? I am sure the rest of the world could learn from crash-free place you live in.

In my 18's I though the same, why all those precautions? I can write SMS and not kill anyone! Truth is, I was lucky not to run into emergency situation while being distracted by mobile.

There is very little risk in regular circumstances, but when unlikely events overlap bad things happen. Blown tire on a motorway, cyclist falling to the middle of a road, uncontrolled vehicle approaching you, and other infinitely many rare possibilities.

P.S. highlighting pedestrians might be life-saving during minimal vision weather.

I would like the following from a HUD:

Outline a car that a standing still or rapidly decreasing speed. This would reduce mundane traffic accidents due to perception errors.

Show road lanes, especially in poor visibility.

Help nightblind users to drive at night

Im residing in one of the best places for traffic safety after decades of work towards "0 traffic deaths per year goal".

I dont fiddle with my phone when in the car - there is a holder for it on the dashboard so I can see and hear it clearly when GPS/GoogleMaps is on.

Running into an emergency situation and having different color lights or other information on any windshield would be disaster.

Ive been in emergency situations many times, in other countries and one which I believe has the most unsafe roads in the world. Escaped many though situations.

And Ive also hardly survived a frontal crash with another car (in the safe country), I was going 70km/h and other one was equal or faster. I wouldnt recommend adding more information than already present for a human brain to take decisions on. That information can be fed to a computer to take decisions when cars become self-driving.

But yeah HUD is cool. I would use it to show the speedometer higher up than it is right now.

You must have a magical car that has absolutely no blind spots! Which one is it? I'd like to consider purchasing one as my next car.

My current car will give warnings if it sees cross traffic approaching when in reverse. It has warned me a few times when someone is driving way too quickly through a parking lot and my view has been blocked by parked cars.

Things like this are REALLY useful. You just don't realize how useful they are because you haven't used the technology yet.

Out of curiosity what car is that? I've seen a lot of blind spot/collision avoidance stuff but I don't think I've seen any sort of "cross traffic" detection yet.

Just the other day my friend drove past someone who was actively backing out a big SUV.

As we drive past our car is well below the level of the SUVs rear window. I just thought to myself: "he's incredibly lucky the SUV even saw him."

I have a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country that has such a feature. It's an extension of the "blind-spot" feature that is only active during reverse. It's saved me a couple of times in crowded parking lots with impatient and fast drivers.

In this case, it was a Ford Escape. It has proximity sensors all around -- it'll also tell you when someone is in your blind spot in a neighboring lane.

The very first image at the top of the page just sends chills down my spine. "Check out this rad video!" while I'm about to drive past a row of parked cars in a busy urban area.

How about "No?" Is "No" supported?

To be honest this is sort of how I felt when I got my first iPhone.

I was downtown in a very busy urban center that I absolutely hate navigating. I was so happy to have an iPhone that was aiding me through the maze of one-way streets; for once I wouldn't be late for my rendezvous.

Just then: the person I was picking up decided to call me. iOS decided that a phone call was more important than driving, so it displayed a full screen alert which closed my navigation session. As a result I of course missed the turn and ended up in a rather stressful situation.

Now this was before iOS had built in turn-by-turn navigation; so I don't think it's fair to say that Apple intended it to be used as a replacement for a navigation aid; but the incident still sends chills down my spine.


The iPhone is no longer with me: but that was the point where I decided two things. (1) my iPhone would always be jailbroken. (2) The "CallBar" app in the Cydia store was well worth the pocket change I paid for it.


I can't stand the notion that social interaction is somehow more important than driving.

When you're driving: your utmost attention is the one and only social obligation you should be expected to fulfill.

Sooo... you're upset your phone behaves like a phone?

For most of us, I think it's primarily a pocket computer. If you really just want a phone, you are massively overpaying if you get an iphone. I mean, sure, it has phone functionality as well, and that's handy, but just because we still call it a phone, don't think that most of us use smartphones primarily for audio communication.

Upset that a smartphone behaves like a single-purpose landline? Certainly. I believe a fullscreen dialer is terrible UX.

Smartphones are very rarely marketed _as phones._ They are marketed based on differentiating features: everyone knows that the flagship Androids and the iPhone are plenty good at making calls.

This leads you to sell the device based on it's lifestyle features: like Siri, or Google Now. Often they are touted for their entertainment capabilities, or marketed as portable media players.

These devices are sold as though _they're more than a phone._ So I don't think it's entirely unrealistic to expect the dialer to be designed to cooperate with other apps.


My phone has more CPU cores, more RAM, and more storage than many netbooks. So I find it a bit strange that Skype on my netbook doesn't demand my full attention, but Skype on my phone not only demands it, _ but commands it._

Why is that so absurd? The only reason these things are called "phones" anymore is tradition and inertia. The "phone" app on my "phone" is one of the least frequently used.

I'm too. I'm upset that my phone behaves as a phone when I'm driving, and late at night. It doesn't need to (and it can ask me the important numbers that can call me at night).

Nope. He appears to be sort of upset that iPhones exist at all.

They put a fair bit of money into their homepage. I'm wondering why they decided that the first use case would be video sharing. Holy cow.

The nav system is great. They should have led with that.

Additionally, pilots rarely need second-by-second reactions. There are times when you do, and you want to maintain awareness, but the odds of crashing because you took 15 seconds to look at a map are extremely low. The odds of crashing because you're focusing on details and forget to keep track of where you are or how much fuel you have or other long-term items are much higher. The requirements for awareness in a car are completely different, where a brief lapse in attention can easily get you killed, but the long-term picture is rarely critical.

Well, taking changes is not the point. There are two pilots, at least one of them should be looking out all the time, doing scanning. It's unfortunate when two airliners collide, because nobody was watching where they're flying. It has been happening. Even in situations when both planes have been already warned about the precense of other planes.

Problem with planes is really high speed, so the plane can be just a pinhead, even if there's good visibility and in the following 15 seconds you're doing something else, is enough to collide.

A lot of airplanes only have one pilot.

It comes down to probabilities. While driving, stare at a map for 15 seconds. What are the odds that you crash? Probably quite high. Better than 50/50, I'd say. Now, when flying, stare at a map for 15 seconds. What are the odds that you crash? It's not zero, but it's close.

This should be banned. Really. I don't want this on the same road as my loved ones. When you are driving, you are driving. Not reading/tweeting.

Even more, mounting "something" to the front window is illegal in a lot of places in the world [1]. At least Netherlands and U.S. In The Netherlands operating a phone while driving (voice operated carkit exempt) gives you a ~$250 fine.

Furthermore, obstructing part of your window is dangerous. You could miss something. And it's distracting (our eyes focus on motion).

What a idiotic idea.


>In The Netherlands operating a phone while driving (voice operated carkit exempt) gives you a ~$250 fine.

Sadly you're wrong. Holding a phone is illegal, operating it while in a car kit is officially nog prohibited.

>Artikel 61a

Het is degene die een motorvoertuig, bromfiets, snorfiets of gehandicaptenvoertuig dat is uitgerust met een motor bestuurt verboden tijdens het rijden een mobiele telefoon vast te houden.

Actually, it's not only legal in California, the state recently banned devices that get stuck to the windshield and mandates that such devices need to be placed and secured on the dashboard.

Obviously, the law doesn't say anything about HUDs, and it will probably take a few years for legislation to catch up with technology in that area.

There is nothing mounted to the window. The device sits on the dashboard.

I totally agree with your comments. Before Navdy, the stuff that distracts you are out of your focus. With Navdy, it bring the distractions right in your view, making it easier and faster to be distracted.

To be fair, they do claim you can disable alerts on a per-application basis. Plus, given that many drivers are going to check their messages anyway, I'd say a HUD is safer than looking at your phone

Plus, given that many drivers are going to check their messages anyway, I'd say a HUD is safer than looking at your phone

People die because other people drive while distracted. There are no excuses for being severely and unnecessarily distracted while behind the wheel just so you can check your messages. It really is as simple as that.

The answer isn't letting people who think it's OK to drive like this be a bit less distracted with a HUD. The answer is imposing penalties equivalent to what they'd get if, say, they fired a loaded gun in a random direction from the middle of a crowded shopping mall.

It's warranted for navigation, or possibly things like virtual mirrors. I wouldn't want to see text messages. Why not just use audio if it's so damned important to get the text?

My Moto X actually attempts to figure out if you're driving, and it is capable of reading texts aloud and it even allows for reply-by-voice.

My jaw hit the floor the first time it went off. My jaw also hit the floor when it read a rather private message while I was a _passenger_ in someone else's car.

It doesn't just blurt the message out, it tells you who it's from and asks if you want to hear it. At least that's how my Moto X works.


(Phone): New text message from John Smith. Would you like to hear it? (You): Yes. (Phone): "Bla bla text message contents here"

(Phone): New text message from <Name of Your Secret Paramour>. Would you like to hear it?

(Your Spouse): Yes.

(Your Coworkers): Yes

I think the moto x is an awesome phone but this is indeed a problem :)

Came here to say the same thing, are they joking ? This is terrible terrible terrible idea.

HUDs are a good idea, but it should be showing info about driving.

i also have to call bs on the 2m focus. it's 2 feet, your eyes will converge at 2ft, and the road behind will become out of focus

I can't speak for this product, but the Boeing HUDs do exactly this: to see the display clearly you need to focus at infinity. That is why they are so useful.

HUD navigation could be cool, but anything that takes attention from driving like showing text messages is a terrible idea and should be banned. Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Even hands free phone calls are distracting.


Well, if hand free phone calls are distracting because you're holding a conversation, we should ban talking to your passengers on a car too, right? Even driving with passengers should be banned just in case, and all vehicles be single-seaters or have soundproof glass between the driver and passengers.

Music is pretty distracting to some people. Car stereos should definitely be banned too.

To be fair, both having a conversation and listening to music keep me alert when driving. Yes, it might also produce cognitive overload, but in my case it's definitely better than cognitive underload (boredom).

You know what's by far the most distracting thing to me while driving? Constantly checking my speedometer. In some areas I do it constantly, out of fear of getting a speeding ticket. I don't even want to speed!

This argument fails repeated testing. It turns out that human-human conversation involves both parties paying attention to the environment and co-operating to insert pauses and situational awareness. In essence, h-h communication in a car requires much less cognitive load on the driver because a large part of it becomes shared.

We've all seen this fail at times too. That's when the driver has to tell the passenger to stop talking so they can concentrate on directions or signage, etc.

In fact it's addressed right below the linked section, but it contradicts your stance.



> In contrast, the University of Illinois meta-analysis concluded that passenger conversations were just as costly to driving performance as cell phone ones.

> AAA ranks passengers as the third most reported cause of distraction-related accidents at 11 percent, compared to 1.5 percent for cellular telephones.

> A simulation study funded by the American Transportation Research Board concluded that driving events that require urgent responses may be influenced by in-vehicle conversations, and that there is little practical evidence that passengers adjusted their conversations to changes in the traffic.

May I recommend that instead of relying on someone's third-hand interpretation in Wikipedia, you prefer to refer to the underlying source, or better yet since that source is itself only a meta-analysis in this case, to the original primary research?

For example, what the meta-analysis paper actually says is:

"From our analyses, in-vehicle (passenger) conversations were just as costly to driving performance as were remote (cell phone) conversations. This suggests that passengers, at least in those studies explored here, did not moderate their conversation in such a way as to alleviate the costs (as compared with remote conversers). These results must be interpreted with caution, however, given that relatively few studies directly examined the impact of passenger conversations."

If you look at their table of the original research they are working from, you can clearly see why they included that cautionary note.

Alternatively, a few minutes with Google Scholar will get you numerous primary sources that show a clear distinction between the effects of remote conversation and the effects of passenger interaction. Some studies suggest that passengers who don't moderate their conversation still have a negative effect, but hardly anyone has data that implies an effect as bad as cell phone conversations. Other studies found evidence that passengers can also be a benefit, for example warning an insufficiently attentive driver of a hazard they had failed to recognise themselves.

There is unfortunately not very much research into more specific conditions when passengers may prove to be a particularly serious distraction. For example, we know that young and inexperienced drivers are disproportionately likely to have accidents, but we don't yet know for sure whether passengers of a similar age are disproportionately likely to be a significant distraction. There is some evidence to suggest that this is at least a plausible theory, and in some places young and inexperienced drivers are now limited in the passengers they can take when they first start driving unsupervised.

both of the studies referenced there were from a decade ago - 2004 and 2006. I wonder what the numbers would be today, given that there's so many more cellphones on the road.

The AAA reference is from 2001, and the document it links to is gone. Archive.org link: https://web.archive.org/web/20061020134705/http://www.aaapub...

Haven't seen any actual numbers yet, but the 'human conversation' thing - 11% - how many of those involved children in the back seats distracting the driver?

not only are there more phones on the road. they're almost all touch screen (no tactile response = more likely to look at it to use it) and they're almost all smart phones, so morons like the one in the video can "compose tweets" while driving.

Two seconds of googling reveals the relevant study:


>>That's when the driver has to tell the passenger to stop talking so they can concentrate on directions or signage, etc.

When I do it to my mother she gets cross and starts talking even more, which is even more distracting. There is no good way out of this situation I am afraid. Some people have absolutely no situational awareness and are actively distracting as passengers.

From The Wikipedia entry on mobile phones and driving: "The NHTSA considers distracted driving to include some of the following as distractions: other occupants in the car, eating, drinking, smoking, adjusting radio, adjusting environmental control, reaching for object in car, and cell phone use."

When I was a kid and my dad was driving and had to make a left turn or perform some other maneuver that required his full attention, he'd ask everyone in the car to be quiet. This was a man that raced automobiles as a hobby and worked in professional racing at the highest levels his entire life.

You are being disingenuous. Of course some of your points make sense in certain circumstances.

> we should ban talking to your passengers on a car too, right

That genie is already out of the bottle and would be impractical to implement. In any case it far less distracting talking to a passenger than trying to reply to a text or conducting what may be a serious conversation on a phone. Additionally the passenger can shut up instantly if (s)he sees a situation developing or even help bring your attention to it.

> both having a conversation and listening to music keep me alert when driving

On a long, boring trip, with very little to concentrate on, it can make sense to have the radio playing and someone talking to you. However on a rainy evening, in fast moving traffic, that same radio and passenger could get you killed and others with you. It is easy to turn off and ignore the radio and to ask your passenger, who can see the danger to please keep quiet for a while. It is a lot more difficult to ignore your phone when expecting that important call under these conditions.

> far the most distracting thing to me while driving? Constantly checking my speedometer

Seriously? Glancing at your speedometer is more distracting than a phone? Besides, glancing at your speedometer for a second carries far less risk than answering a text and having a fight with your girlfriend on the phone.

>>Additionally the passenger can shut up instantly if (s)he sees a situation developing or even help bring your attention to it.

If they know what to look for. Doesn't work with children, people who don't drive themselves so they have no idea what to look out for, or even worse, it can work the other way around, when someone yells "WATCH OUT" at the top of their lungs because they perceive danger, even though you were not in any(saying hi to all my elderly relatives here).

I've had more near misses in my car caused by distractions from other people physically inside the car than when I'm physically alone - that includes all forms of social interaction via a mobile device. To count the accidents I've been involved in or had near misses, virtually all of them have been caused by someone in my vehicle causing me take my eyes off the road at just the wrong moment - because instinct can cause you to react badly at just the wrong time and boom! However, a cell phone ringing or an email/text coming in has never caused me to think "Holy shit, I must check who that is right now this second, forget that the guy 25 feet in front of me just hit his brakes hard. I'll figure that out in a minute!"

Of course, I do realize that there are accidents caused by texting/emailing and driving at the same time, and as such, I do think it should be banned everywhere. When you're driving, your one and only concern should be what's going on around your vehicle.

Should we ban talking to your passengers in your car too? Perhaps. While we're at it, could we also ban our kids from fighting in the back seat and bothering us with "Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy! Can I have a cookie?" Would such a ban be realistic? No, of course it wouldn't. If you could, would it significantly reduce the number of accidents on our roads? If my own experience is anything to go by, it most certainly would.

All we can do is assess crash statistics, ban those activities that can reasonably be banned where it would reduce in a reduction in those statistics.

Is it reasonable to ban the use of cell phones and all forms of mobile communication while driving? Absolutely. We used to drive all the time without phones in the car. We used to leave our houses without the ability to communicate at all until we got back to a land line. I think in extenuating circumstances, it can be overlooked, but if the statistics show that mobile device usage behind the wheel of a car results in accidents, we can easily go back to not using them when we're behind the wheel of the car. Will we? I'd say it's unlikely given the number of drivers I passed this morning, still holding their cell phones to their ears - despite this behaviour being banned in this province since 2010, with fines as heavy as $1,000 and 3 demerit points.

It's easy to say "You know what the most distracting thing is...?" but honestly, you can't remove all distracting things. All you can do is remove as many of them as you can reasonably remove and do your best to mitigate the risk of the remainder.

I do think that having my nav and my speedometer on the HUD would be far better though.

> near misses

So, hits?

Oh look, captain pedant has arrived.

> we should ban talking to your passengers on a car too, right

You may be on to something. You've seen the number of people out there who actually turn to face their passengers full on while driving, right?

Actually it's pretty odd. I don't look at the passenger when I'm driving, though of course we'll converse. Even at stop lights, I spend more time checking the light and my rear view mirror than I do looking at my passenger. My responsibility as a driver requires me to do so when I'm driving, whether it's slow, fast or stopped.

This makes a lot of people noticeably uncomfortable.

I've taken to actually turning my face slightly towards people periodically, while keeping eyes ahead -- just to avoid creating a sense of awkwardness.

This. I can't look at the passenger ether when I'm driving, even on very familiar roads. I never thought this is awkward - but if the passenger is not a friend/ close acquaintance, I mention it casually that I am in fact listening to them even if I'm not looking at them. The best I could do is keep nodding or make agreeing sounds.

In my opinion passengers are far better than phone calls because the passenger has contextual awareness of what's happening while you're driving. He or she will pause a sentence while you're trying to merge onto the freeway, for example.

You're assuming they a: notice and pay attention to the road, and b: they're familiar with how to drive, so know that is a trickier maneuver, and c: that they know how well you drive, so can contextualize a pause based on your ability.

nope, it doesn't happen in real life.

You've never had someone pause a conversation while you merge onto a highway?

Me personally? Not without asking, no.

I have been in far more close calls as a result of being distracted by my passengers than by my cell phone.

> anything that takes attention from driving like showing text messages is a terrible idea and should be banned

So advertisements beside roads should be banned?

My opinion is yes, it is a real distraction. Especially now with digital billboards.

And peach-shaped water towers?

Ah, I think we've all seen House of Cards.

In Germany advertisments beside the Autobahn are banned.

They're being outlawed in Czechia, too.

In France they're illegal around (and visible from) express roads (roads with central separators and at least 2 lanes each ways, generally limited to 110km/h) and highways (same but with more stringent sizing specs, extensive shoulders and usually speed-limited to 130km/h), within 40 meters in cities and 200 meters outside.

They're completely banned on the Autobahn and even on normal roads all ads have to be approved.

Yes, especially the super bright flashing ones. Extremely distracting.

I think so, yes, but I feel this way primarily for aesthetic reasons.

I actually find those permanent-installation LED government road signs warning of lane closures and advising of average travel times to be worse because the angle at which they're viewable tends to be terrible and require you to pay more attention to read them than they should.

They are also banned out of urban zones in Spain. There is a survivor sign that was allowed to stay, "El Toro de Osborne". That's how we do it... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_bull

Solution to distracted driving: self-driving vehicles, public transit, etc.

Take your pick.

Yep anything that engages your language processing: speaking, listening to conversations, singing, etc. interferes with your ability to process what's going on in front of you. Carrying on any sort of conversation, hands-free or no, impairs reaction time and your ability to drive safely.

You're not supposed to talk to bus drivers without good reason, and this is partially why.

And yet, some how many many folks still manage to drive with passengers on a daily basis for years and years without incident.

I have a HUD in my car - it is great for navigation events and alerts. Turn arrows, street names and lane restrictions are all displayed when navigating. When not navigating it shows speed and alerts. Using the steering controls you can scroll through radio/media options. The image appears to be farther away than what is displayed in this product. That is a very important distinction. By appearing farther away you needn't refocus every time you glance slightly down to view the HUD data. This looks like a translucent screen right in front of the wheel. Not good.

They mention on the site that the image is focused into the distance. Perhaps the imagery they currently have is just poorly designed, but hopefully it's closer to your experience when it ships.

Are there any studies showing the same about radios? I remember reading articles suggesting as much.

I've long thought that it should be illegal to play any sort of siren on the radio. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into "fight or flight" mode because of some new hiphop single.

Same with an auto insurance radio commercial playing a horn, tires screeching, or even a car collision sound, how can that not be illegal.

AAMCO, Larry David

I agree. Navdy should round up all the people in Werner Herzog's texting documentary, ask them to endorse their product, and post that video on their website.

but it's no worse than several displays, screens and buttons that area already present in your car that divert your attention even more than a HUD would.

So where were you fear-mongers when car radios were introduced, or when drive-thrus and eating while you drive was introduced, or when tape players/CD players were introduced, or when mapping/full touchscreen devices in cars were introduced?

This whole "distracted driving" thing is horseshit. If the road is your PRIMARY focus than you can do all of the things I just mentioned and not die. It's really that easy.

I'm not sure that showing off how your new product can make texting while driving easier is the best idea. The whole hands free debate isn't about literally keeping your hands free of objects, it's the psychological distraction of texting/talking/browsing that causes the safety issues. If it were just about keeping your hands free to stay on the steering wheel, people with one arm wouldn't be allowed to drive.

Much of the current public outreach really does focus on people taking their eyes off the road and missing things [0]. Usually in pretty graphic ways [1]. The other main focus is navigation in the car, which pretty much everyone does now, so making that safer is a win.

[0] - http://www.ibtimes.com/texting-drivers-take-eyes-road-5-seco...

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss021L0hWU4

I wonder to what degree navigation is a fundamentally different case.

A given driver on a given trip is well-shown to be more attentive to traffic and less disruptive if you deny them distractions. (conversation, radio, food, etc)

But it seems plausible that a lost driver is a special case and may be less attentive and more disruptive to traffic if you deny them a navigational aid.

Anecdotally that feels true, though I don't know if it's been studied specifically.

If that were absolutely true, eating while driving would be debated as heavily or more.

Not to mention conversing with passengers.

It only takes a minute or two to eat, while a lot of people will spend the entire trip on the phone, either talking or texting.

Also, I don't know about you, but I don't have to think much about eating, compared to carrying on a conversation or reading.

I still feel it's a lot of less dangerous than reading your texts in your phone. You still seeing the road in a way.

There's also the option of not reading texts while driving, which is safest.

Just need to share my first reaction...

Your hero image with an example of a HUD should probably not be a prompt to watch a video. That's just about the most dangerous thing that a HUD could ask you to do.

Agreed. After seeing this I assumed that this was a farce site.

It's just a cute way of them prompting visitors to watch the video, using the software they built (showing off the message feature).

Though I guess you can say that if you saw it that way, it is still reason to change that, to avoid confusion.

I'm a pilot and was surprised that the Navdy video invoked the "pilots use it -- it's safe" language.

Um, when I'm flying a plane, I don't:

- have other 4,000-lb planes 3' away that I could collide with after a moment's distraction

- compose tweets by speaking aloud while staring at a screen, and then when the voice recognition system doesn't work properly, have to retry multiple times while staring at the screen

- talk on the phone to my mother

- play music while navigating through crowded airspace (some pilots do on longer cross-country trips, of course)

- need to have my airspeed projected in front of me (maybe on takeoff it would be useful)

- have apps pop up notifications directly in my field of vision when I'm trying to focus on one of those 4,000-lb objects that's about to collide with me

- have some of those other 4,000-lb objects near me controlled by people who are composing tweets, etc. rather than focusing on the task of flying

What I do want to be doing is scanning the airspace around me for other planes, scanning my instruments to make sure all is well, etc...

Navdy seems like a good HUD implementation from a technological standpoint, and unlike other folks here I don't think it should be banned. But assuring everyone it's safe because "pilots use it" seems like a statement made without, well, talking to pilots first.

I see a lot of folks holding their iPhone while driving on congested freeways.

They hold the phones down low, to avoid tickets.

I feel Navdy is an improvement on those situations, but I still don't like where things are headed.

When I read "HUD for your car" I imagined a super cool HUD like the ones in nearly-sci-fi jets showing actually useful info about my crazy driving skills, other objects in sight, about routes and parking stuff, and about the car itself. I really didn't see it coming when it showed people using social media apps. But it's alright as long as it makes HUD displays more popular anyway... I guess!

>showing actually useful info about my crazy driving skills,...

Thanks for the laugh :-)!

This was my first thought as well. I saw a Mercedes the other day with the "lane change assist."

Rather hilariously: I was behind the Mercedes at a right turn, and you could see the "danger" light in her mirror indicating that my little sedan was in the blindspot of her enormous GLK.

(Ironically the tech itself was a distraction _to me_ because I was trying to figure out where the sensor package was, and how sensitive the instrumentation was. I had never seen it that closely before -- perhaps I should go to a Mercedes dealership.)

I want that sort of tech on every glass surface of the car. Anywhere I can see a vehicle: I should be able to see "potential hazard information."

BMW's modern HUDs show you some of that (navigational info, actual speed limits (sign reading), current speed/RPM/gear).

Glad I'm not the only one that thinks driving should be a full time activity. If you don't have a personal chauffeur, you are not important enough to need your phone while driving. If you do have a personal chauffeur, text away Mr./Mrs./Ms. Important.

My 2010 Prius has little monochrome HUD showing speed, navigation info, and power consumption (configurable). Although less fancy than Navdy, it's really useful because you will always see the road in background. Should become a standard in every car.

having felt prey to the "ok google now" scam i will pass this one.

i know i will only be able to control minimal navigation and calls options.

no other app will ever play along. e.g. you skype calls will either block everything or only show up on your phone screen... to the point integration is so bad you still have your phone on the holder next to that screen and in the end you are using your phone directly more than that projector.

Why does it have to be that way, though?

Why can't I just have a list of "high priority apps" and "low priority apps", or even just "highest priority" and "everything else."

It's not something an app can solve; but I personally spend a long time trying to ensure that my phone is safe to use as a navigational aid. Currently this usually includes voiding my warranty (to root, jailbreak, etc.) so that I can bypass the stock dialer. -- That just feels _wrong_ to me. I should not be voiding my warranty to make a device safer.

As soon as I saw that it combines OBD II information from the car with turn-by-turn information from Google Maps... and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee upon receiving it... sold.

States have laws regarding this stuff. So let's look at California, where this company is based:


Video Screen Restriction Hands-free Cell Phone Use Only Ban on Texting While Driving Restrictions on Cell Phone Use for Novice Drivers and School Bus Drivers

Law: Prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle if a video monitor, or a video screen or any other similar device that displays a video signal is operating and is located forward of the driver's seat or is visible to the driver. Provides exceptions for emergency equipment. Statute: California Vehicle Code §2890 (West 2004) Penalties: No Penalty Specified.

Law: Prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Allows exceptions in emergency situations. Statute: California Vehicle Code §12810.3 and §23123 Penalties: $20 for first offense, $50 for each subsequent offense.

Law: A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication Statute: California Vehicle Code 23123 (2009) Penalties: Infraction - $20 first offense, $50 for subsequent.

Law: School and transit bus drivers and drivers younger than 18 will be banned for all cell phone use while driving (regardless of hands-freeheadset). Statute: 2007 California Statutes, Chap. 214 Penalties: $20 for first offense, $50 for each subsequent offense.


> Law: Prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle if a video monitor, or a video screen or any other similar device that displays a video signal is operating and is located forward of the driver's seat or is visible to the driver. Provides exceptions for emergency equipment. Statute: California Vehicle Code §2890 (West 2004) Penalties: No Penalty Specified.

Really? So are Sat Navs banned in California?

There's more information here:



27602. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when installed in a vehicle:

(1) A vehicle information display.

(2) A global positioning display.

(3) A mapping display.

(4) A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver's view forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.

So a GPS display .... even heads-up ... should be fine. But if you start showing video messages of your friend from Instagram, then you're probably going to violate the existing laws.

That makes a lot of sense!

I recently drove a Citroen rental car with a HUD display. It only displayed critical info: gear, speed, cruise control mode, and next gps turn.

This is just a gimmick. I would never, ever want it to display tweets or whatever distracting content, just because you can still see the road doesn't mean it won't take away your attention. Until we have self-driving cars there is no technology that will magically make it possible to multitask while driving...

Yes I definitely think there is a real need for HUD for our car. Kudos for the Navdy team for such a brave attempt.

Few challenging tasks ahead for Navdy team like:

1. I get tonnes of marketing SMS, It should recognize which SMS should be delivered to HUD might depend the ratio of conversation I make with the sender and decide based on that? (Yeah I live in other side of the planet)

2. I might not need integration with Twitter and other social media accounts they are definitely not meant to get my focus while driving

3. As per other HN commenter, it would be awesome if it can recognize the signals or detect objects ahead of some 10m and warn me and get me a path way to ride? determine the pathway depending on the car dimensions ? (Yes, I live in India and commuting here in city is really makes you very skillful in driving :), something like in Captain America 2 film wind sheild? Yeah I know easier said than done )

4. May be get them the HUD view of rear and help me to drive reverse without need to turn around ? (Asking for too much?)

But definitely worth an attempt.

I'm surprised the OBD II port is capable of powering something like this. I hope they aren't cheating by running off the onboard battery while running and charging while the car is off.

There are pins for battery ground and battery power (12V). Depending on the car, it might be tied to the ignition, or it might not.

yea, I'm just surprised they have enough current to power a projector + arm cpu + fan.

My car's 12V system warns me to limit use to 120W. That's for the "cigarette lighter" ports, but the OBDII power pin is probably similar if not on the same circuit. That'll run a lot of crap.

Interesting idea, but certainly the demonstrated applications seem to be awful. Now, a HUD with map and information about upcoming traffic & road conditions would be useful.

As an optics guy, I was seriously considering building one of these myself. Awesome stuff. I'll be ordering...

I'm not an optics guy, but I'm an electronics hacker. How hard would it be to learn the basics to do it?

as a general hacker with an interest in learning whatever I can, I am also interested in how one would go about making one. it could be doable just onto a plain windshield, right?

> it could be doable just onto a plain windshield, right?

My gut tells me you'd need some kind of reflecting sheet stuck in the windshield or the light would just go through. My guess is the screen in Navdy is actually reflecting light polarized in a specific angle, but I could be completely wrong.

Also, it would be harder because windshields are not planar nor perpendicular to the light source, which distorts the projected image. You'd have to calibrate it constantly, I guess that's why Navdy has a screen.

There's also the law. I believe you can't stick things to the windshield for safety reasons, specially if they occlude light.

It seems the optics might not be that hard: a mini-projector, a mirror (though I don't know why you wouldn't just project the light directly) and somewhere to reflect the light.


I would feel a lot safer if this product did not have an emphasis on something like texting.

If it detected you were at a red light, maybe it might be appropriate to display such, but please, not while a kid might be running in front of you, ignorant of your presence.

Why does this look like a very bad idea? I think the last thing we need is some gadget thats right infront of their view and distracting.

You might change your mind if you ever have the opportunity to rent a car that has a HUD - having just the navigation directions on the windshield is great, your eyes never leave the road.

Rolls Royce, BMW, and even Chevrolets (Corvettes and Camaros) come with HUDs of various sophistication.

Having driven HUD cars on several 800+ mls roadtrips, i prefer BMW one the most. Camaro (2012 model) was so distracting, i had to turn it off due to glare at night.

BMW HUD is truly useful, but youre NOT TRULY looking at the road while looking at it - your eyes are focusing on a point in road that's only about 50 feet from you. Granted that's better than your lap where the cell phone is, its still not enough time to react to something happening in front at highway speeds - so as many have said, bringing texts/full voice interaction to this thing strikes me as dubious.

Also, wouldn't cops consider it to be a windshield obstruction? Its a giant box on top of the instrument cluster... many petite members of our society barely clear the steering wheel with their eyes...

PS: After about a week with a HUD you'll have a hard time going back to a car without one, but i don't ever see how this would be safe for anything except GPS.

Lastly, MSRP looks to be ~$450 - which is not far from integrated navi system (with which you get proper Bluetooth, traffic, no data plan requirements, and so on).

Where did you see that, I didn't notice they are offering anything like that?

Their 2nd big picture on the site shows it (with some artistic license): https://www.navdy.com/assets/bg_2-6d1e2edf72162edc92d6955512...

Another one here: https://www.navdy.com/assets/directions-491e1e1af7ef47c676ab...

I meant, where can you rent a car with hud display like this, or I didn't understand what you were trying to say :)

Oh, I see. I thought you meant you didn't see Navdy offering navigation on their hud. Never mind! :-)

I test drove a BMW M6 which had it, it was amazing. I believe most high-end BMW cars have this as an option.

That is awesome, I didn't know they have that.

Video @ 0:33: Am I the only person who noticed the Bentley badge on the Ford Fusion? Director Easter egg?

I noticed that too. I can't imagine either company would be happy about that.

It would have been funnier had they used the Aston Martin logo, since the Fusion grill design is a rip off of the iconic Aston Martin shape. In Ford's defense, they did own Aston Martin until 2007.

Why are people comparing Navdy with not using a cellphone at all. That isn't the point of this device. People use their cellphones while driving, and are going to continue unless the government can physically prevent it all the time. This device isn't trying to prevent all types of distracted driving that cellphones create, but to minimize it. As a whole, the public is going to not only use cellphones to the level they are now, but are going to increase their usage. If the usage is going to increase and people will not stop using their phones while driving, isn't it better if they use Navdy? This is a good idea, but I think it's too pricy to convince people to stop. The tech costs too much in order for most users to decide to get it. Ultimately car manufactures will create their own in-car tech through partnerships with the big tech companies that will do it better for cheaper. Or it will be packaged in with your car and you won't notice the 1.5k charge when you are paying 30k for the car.

"People use their cellphones while driving"

No, some people do. It's illegal and I'm all for increasing policing and penalties to stop them.

> No, some people do.

He did not say all people. He said "people". You are saying the same thing he did, except you said "no" in front of it. My own anecdotal evidence is that I don't know a single person that won't use their cellphone while driving.

> It's illegal and I'm all for increasing policing and penalties to stop them.

That's a blanket statement that isn't true. Certain activities on the cell may be illegal in certain states, but hands-free talking generally isn't—as far as I know isn't illegal in mine.

I use my cell phone for maps and music while I drive, and will continue to do so even if people like you get laws passed to make it illegal. As far as I'm concerned, the cat is out of that particular bag (and it's undeniably safer than maps and music in the days before cell phones).

Talking on a cell phone while driving is not illegal in some states (I'd venture to guess most). Also, in some states where it is banned, it's still allowed for people who drive as part of their job. When I was delivering pizza, something like this would have been a gamechanger.

Your post is impossible to follow. You jump to point to point without rhyme or reason many of which aren't really justified (even on a casual basis).

Here's just a few of the points you try to make:

- You don't think cellphone-driving laws work unless there is a cop literally with you 24/7.

- You think this device minimizes distracted driving (?)

- You think cellphone usage while driving is going to increase regardless (?)

- You feel that because cellphone usage while driving is going to increase (unsupported) and that Navdy is less distracting (unsupported) that Navdy is an improvement (?)

If you believe this stuff then you have to at least try a little tiny bit to justify it. Those are pretty far out there opinions some of which aren't really supported by the admittedly limited data we have.

Your last bullet encapsulates the lack of critical thought perfectly.

A horrifically bad solution does not become good simply because the problem it solves is "inevitable."

"compose new tweet". for fucks sake, pull over and use your phone.

Woah. So my Maxima can become as cool as my buddy's Z06 for the low, low price of $300? Interesting. Having a tach thrown onto the windshield is much preferable to squinting down through the steering wheel into Nissan's lovely (not), isolated pods. Keeping both eyes on the road while shifting into 2nd a hair past the redline? Nice.

Although you could see this sort of product coming years ago, the creators are ignoring the fundamental lesson that more mature US industries learned the hard way: Regulate yourselves, or raise red flags and force the government to step in and do it for you (and most likely gut your business model). Or at the very least, show some tact.

The guy in the video is the same guy from the Coin concept videos...

Adam Lisagor, he runs a company that produces these concept videos: http://sandwichvideo.com/

I'm surprised that he also stars in them. That seems like it would make things more complicated to shoot (but maybe cheaper and easier to produce.)

I think the product seems a bit dangerous and I'm not interested in buying it, but I thought he played it all perfectly. I especially liked the bit where his mum called.

But it looks bulky and the display is a bit low and meagre. I don't think we should be encouraging people to read/compose tweets or texts while driving. Take a call or get directions or show my speed and the limits, sure, but tweets can surely wait.

While part of me is fascinated by the idea, part of me is slightly appalled. For one, they seem to be mixing internet UX with aviation UX and hoping for the best on America’s roadways. I’ve flown extensively with both a HUD and an HMCS. Even a missile alert is a small flashing icon, not a giant picture. And this is in a plane where other objects are not usually in your immediate vicinity. All I can think looking at that picture with mom calling, is wow, “I just drove off the cliff because mom called, this sucks, well at least the scenery’s beautiful, and this HUD’s pretty cool.”

Maybe it's just me, but I just don't understand why drivers feel like they need to receive/respond to their call/text while they are driving.

More often than not, someone other side won't realize I'm driving and see I can work out some magic until I tell them I'm driving.

Because of this annoyance I've started ignoring any attempts to reach me while I'm driving.

What would be cool service, actually would be the service that can cause call to go through only when it's really urgent, but caller only gets a certain number of "urgency" calls to be saved for REAL emergency.

It annoys me as well but what I can I do?

Example: I'm supposed to pick up my friend from the airport. I've got my wireless headphones on so he can call but he never does. He always texts. "Just landed", "Waiting for Luggage", "Coming out of the terminal". Of course he never tells me where :P I'd prefer he'd call since he knows I'm driving but since texting is the default for most people nowadays it's what they do first.

As a driver myself it does occur to me I shouldn't text either if I'm being picked up but I don't know what calling is any better because a call requires them to pick up where as they can ignore a text if they want.

Ah, I didn't realize that possibility. (What I have been doing in such case was just PTT through my headset that I am approaching so they can find me as I approach...)

I wish it had more about the legality of this beyond: "Some states may also have legal restrictions regarding where accessories may be mounted on the dashboard"

Were they purposefully going for the "stoned" vibe with that video? Just seemed like an odd choice for something they are trying to say is both safe and cool.

"Shipping early 2015. We will charge your credit card immediately upon pre-order."

When it did become legal (or even advisable) to charge a credit card more than 30 days in advance of shipment?

Given all the kickstarter hardware startup fiascos, there is NO way I'm paying for a piece of technology this complex 4+ months in advance of estimated delivery times. I'm fully expecting to see "Where is my Navdy!!!?!?!" threads around about this time next year.

It's always been legal (in the US) as long as they tell you when they WILL ship (or within 30 days, if no timeframe is promised). It's against the merchant contract with most (all?) major credit card providers though.

I'm not sure why there would be anything illegal about charging a card so early (in any jurisdiction I'm familiar with, at least) but it's certainly considered bad practice where I am and the related payment services would likely not be happy if they knew it was happening, not least due to the high risk of chargebacks.

This is the same guy from the Coin video (https://onlycoin.com/)! Who is this guy?


1Password too. http://vimeo.com/88901304

Great. Now hackers will have a connection to my car.

If they are using the CAN connection on ODB-II then I'm connecting my car to the internet. Sure, most cars only put non-critical stuff on that particular bus but I don't want script kiddies turning on my radio or flashing my lights while I'm driving.

Hopefully its not required and I can just make a power only cable.

HUD is a reasonable tool to augment driving information. It makes sense for maps, directions, vehicle alerts.

Using it to make texting and other non-driving related functions more accessible is a slippery slope towards driver distraction and pretty directly linkable liability for this company.

Side note: I'm always annoyed that Siri insists I read a preview of what it thinks I want a text message to say. Otherwise texting could be completely voice based.

Why can't it read the message back to me? That would give me a rough idea of whether Siri got it right?

Siri does read it back to you... at least she does to me when I'm using my handsfree setup in the car.

"Your message to PERSON says SIRI-MANGLED-MESSAGE. Would you like to send it?"

You can send or change it by voice.

Hmm, so you're saying bluetooth triggers that?

I'm not sure what triggers it... but when I'm in my car, Siri reads things back to me. So I don't know if it applies equally to bluetooth headsets or hands-free mode in my car. I don't know enough about Bluetooth profiles to say without some extra Googling.

Say "read it to me."

Hmm... seems to lack a gps. Given that it's running android, it would be nice if it used it's position and size to have a better gps antenna then your phone. Also it could totally store offline maps for when you can't access the network.

I think the point they want to make is that no matter how dangerous it is to operate your mobile phone while driving, a lot of people do it. So, I think replacing that with a HUD like this might just be safer than using your mobile while driving.

Why build a business around facilitating bad behavior? Seems short-sighted ... literally, in this case.

My senior project in college was very similar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axDyhF1N7hY

Navdy's interface looks quite a bit nicer though, for sure.

Awesome project! Did you create an actual HUD (projector) or just use the reflection off the windshield at night? (I emailed you as well)

In the video they say that they used 40/60 beamsplitter glass. It reflects the tablet directly.

He was asking the commenter a question about his project not Navdy.

The Navdy video has no explanation of what they use. The commenter linked to a YouTube video about his project, in which they say they used 60/40 beam splitter glass.

It would be even better if combined with a backup camera and parking sensors.

WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST DRIVE?!?!! Why do they think they need to be reading and replying to SMS messages and emails and calls.

Just focus on the 1-3 tons of vehicle you're bimbling around in.

It's the same actor from the Coin video [1]. How strange.

1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Sx34swEG0

Yup! He's the guy behind Sandwich Video, which makes a ton of ads for startups: http://sandwichvideo.com/

Mmm.. his terrible facial hair made me think it was an amature video. Hilarious that people are paying the guy money to put himself in their product videos and he doesn't even tidy his beard up.

I think that's kind of the point. He doesn't look like an actor -- he's an everyman.

I think he might be the guy on the 1Password video too

Really cool, I plan to get something like this as soon as it becomes available, my money is here, please post when you have product I can order and is reviewed by Ars or Engadget.

Powered by Tilt no less ;)

https://www.tilt.com | https://open.tilt.com

"But you can't use your phone in your car. When you do, bad things happen."

gets pulled over by a cop

Yes a ticket is the worst that can happen when you're distracted while driving.


That's @lonelysandwich, he is the director of a lot of tech startup demos: http://sandwichvideo.com

In the future I'd like to be able to look down at my phone/tablet/book/food/etc while my car drives me to my destination. This is not the future.

This seems very similar to things like Coin[1] where it's a solution for now, rather than the future.

[1]: https://onlycoin.com

I would use this solely for navigational purposes with Google Maps turn-by-turn. This is exactly why I would not pay $300.

Why does my car need Twitter?

Great product video! Actually quite funny. This technology can be a nice little stop gap before the driverless car revolution.

If you have an Automatic and want to use both, this will be a no go since each will need to use the OBD II port in your car.

I think this is a really good alternative. While I do believe that anything that takes away from your attention (texting) while driving, should be banned. It's always going to be a problem whether there is a law against it or not.

It comes down to.. would I rather someone be sending a text while looking down at their phone. Or would I feel better about someone sending a text, a message that's being sent regardless, while looking ahead in front of them.

Wouldn't it be the same as using a Google Glass while driving?

Other than for navigation, Glass while driving is insanely distracting.

This is a terrible idea. If it were up to me I'd ban phones in cars entirely until self driving cars are a thing.

I really like what these guys have done -- I've been jealous of the vehicles that ship with this built-in.

What have they done? All I see is renderings.

Am I the only one who initial read HURD?

Very optimistic with the ship date. Early 2015? Do they realize it's August 2014 already?

Looked interesting. Lets watch the video! "Missing Plug-in." Duh! (Homer style)

Navdy seems gimmicky, (Husband) I'm worried about Adam trying to hit on my wife...

You can get a HUD in a Corvette, but it simply displays info from the gauge cluster.

I would like to see a working prototype first before I'd consider buying one.

This seems really cool, I'd definitely want to try it out first though.

Great product. Surely a matter of time before buyout from a big car company.

any ideas where the map data comes from? OpenStreetMap?

40% off at $319? Wow.

Just bought one :)

Howdy, Mr. Sandwich Video

Jesus, this is a terrible idea.

I stopped watching when the HUD was actually a tiny piece of screen glass limited to the device. I thought it would project light into the dashboard somehow.

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